28. The science of the secrets of letters.
At the present time, this science is called simiya' "letter magic." 805 The word was transferred from talismans to this science and used in this conventional meaning in the technical terminology of Sufi practitioners of magic. Thus, a general (magical) term came to be used for some particular aspect (of magic).
This science originated in Islam after some time 806 of (its existence) had passed. When the extremist Sufis appeared, they turned to the removal of the veil of sense perception, produced wonders, and were active in the world of the elements. At that time, they wrote systematic works on (Sufism) and (Sufi) terminology. They believed in the gradual descent of existence from the One. They believed that verbal perfection consists in helping the spirits of the spheres and the stars (through words). The natures and secrets of the letters are alive in the words, while the words, in turn, are correspondingly alive in the created things. The created things have been moving in the different stages of (creation) and telling its secrets since the first creation. These (Sufi beliefs) caused the science of the secrets of the letters to originate. It is a subdivision of the science of simiya' "letter magic." It is an unfathomable subject with innumerable problems. Al-Buni,807 Ibn al-'Arabi, and others in their wake wrote numerous works on it. These authors assume that the result and fruit of letter magic is that the divine souls are active in the world of nature by means of the beautiful names of God and the divine expressions that originate from the letters comprising the secrets that are alive in the created things.
The authorities on letter magic then differed as to the secret of the (magic) activity lying in the letters. Some of them assumed that it was due to inherent temper. They divided the letters into four groups corresponding to the elements. Each nature (element) had its own group of letters. Through this group (of letters), it can be active actively and passively. A technical procedure, which the (authorities on letter magic) call "breaking down" (taksir),808 classifies the letters as the elements are classified, as fiery, airy, watery, and earthy. The alif is fiery, b airy, j watery, and d earthy. Then, it starts again with the next letter, and so on, through the whole alphabet and the sequence of the elements. Thus, seven letters are fiery, namely, alif, h, t, m, f, s, and dh. Seven are airy, namely, b, w, y, n, d, t, and x. Seven are watery, namely, j, x, k, s, q, th, and gh. And seven are earthy, namely, d, h, l, 'ayn, r, kh, and sh.809
The fiery letters serve to repel cold diseases and to increase the power of heat wherever desired, either in the sensual (physical) or in the astrological (sense). Thus, for instance, (one may want to) increase the power of Mars for warfare, the killing (of enemies), and aggressiveness.
In the same way, the watery letters serve to repel hot diseases, such as fevers and others, and to increase the cold powers, wherever desired, either in the sensual (physical) sense or in the astrological (sense). Thus, for instance, (one may want to) increase the power of the moon, and so on.
Other (authorities on letter magic) assumed that the secret of the (magic) activity that lies in the letters was their numerical proportion. The letters of the alphabet indicate numerical values which by convention and nature are generally accepted to be (inherent in) them. Thus, there exists a relationship between the letters themselves as a result of the relationship of their numerical values. For instance, there is a relationship between b, k, and r, because all three of them indicate two in its different positions. (The letter) b indicates two in the units, k indicates two in the tens (20), and r indicates two in the hundreds (200). Or, there is a special relationship between the letters mentioned and d, m, and t. The (latter group of letters) indicates four, and the proportion of four to two is that of two to one. Then, there are magic squares for words as there are for numbers. Each group of letters has its particular kind of magic square which fits it in view either of the numerical value of the figure 810 or of the numerical value of the letters. (Magic) activity based on letter magic thus merges with that based on number magic, because there exists a relationship between letters and numbers.
The real significance of the relationship existing between letters and natural humors and between letters and numbers is difficult to understand. It is not a matter of science or reasoning. According to the (authorities on letter magic), it is based on mystical experience and the removal (of the veil). Al-Buni said, "One should not think that one can get at the secret of the letters with the help of logical reasoning. One gets to it with the help of vision and divine aid."
The fact that it is possible to be active in the world of nature with the help of the letters and the words composed of them, and that the created things can be influenced in this way, cannot be denied. It is confirmed by continuous tradition on the authority of many (practitioners of letter magic).
It has been thought that this activity and the activity of people who work with talismans are one and the same thing. This is not so. The people who work with talismans have made it clear that the influence of a talisman actually comes from spiritual powers derived from the substance of force. These powers exercise a powerful and forceful activity upon the things for which the (talisman) is composed, with the help of spherical secrets, numerical proportions, and vapors that attract the spirituality of the talisman and are mentally enclosed in it. The result is that the high natures come to be tied to the low ones. Talismans, they think, are like a ferment composed of and including earthy, airy, watery, and fiery (elements). Such ferment is instrumental in transforming and changing anything into which it might get, into its own essence and in turning it into its own form. The elixir 811 for metals, likewise, is a ferment that by transformation turns the mineral in which it is alive into itself. Therefore, it has been said that the subject of alchemy is body (substance) in body (substance), because all parts of an elixir are corporeal (substances). The subject of talismans, on the other hand, is spirit in body (substance),812 because talismans tie the high natures to the low natures. The low natures are bodies (substances), while the high natures are spiritualities.813
One should realize that all (magic) activity in the world of nature comes from the human soul and the human mind, because the human soul essentially encompasses and governs nature. Consequently, the real difference between the activity of people who work with talismans and people who work with words is as follows. The activity of people who work with talismans consists in bringing down the spirituality of the spheres and tying it down with the help of pictures or numerical proportions. The result is a kind of composition that, through its nature, effects a transformation and change comparable to those effected by a ferment in the thing into which it gets. The activity of people who work with words, on the other hand, is the effect of the divine light and the support of the Lord which they obtain through exertion and the removal (of the veil). Thus, nature is forced to work (for them) and does so willingly with no attempt at disobedience. Their activity needs no support from the spherical powers or anything else, because the support it has is of a higher order than (all that).
People who work with talismans, therefore, need (only) a little exercise to give the soul the power to bring down the spirituality of the spheres. Devotions and exercises certainly play a very insignificant role in it. The opposite is the case with people who work with words. Their exercise is the most extensive that can be. It is not for the purpose of being active in the existing things, since that is a veil (standing between them and their real task). Such activity comes to them accidentally, as an act of divine grace.814 A person who works with words may have no knowledge of the secrets of God and the realities of divinity, which is the result of vision and the removal (of the veil). He may restrict himself to the various relationships between words and the natures of letters and expressions, and he may become (magically) active with them in this capacity, and that is what people who practice letter magic are commonly supposed to do. But then, there is no difference between such a person and the people who work with talismans. In fact, a person who works with talismans is more reliable than he, because he has recourse to scientific natural principles and orderly norms. A person who works with the secrets of words but is not sincere in his devotion 815 and (in addition) has no technical norms of evidence on which he may rely and, therefore, lacks the removal (of the veil) that would show him the realities of expressions and the influence of relationships, is in a weaker position (than a person who works with talismans).
The person who works with words may mingle the powers of expressions and words with the powers of the stars. He may then set certain times for mentioning the beautiful names of God or the magic squares composed of them or, indeed, any word. 816 These times must be under the propitious influence of the star 817 that is related to a particular word. That was done, for instance, by al-Buni in his book entitled al-Anmat.818 The relationship (between star and magic word) is assumed to come from the nubilous ('amaiyah) presence, 819 which is the purgatory station (barzakhiyah) of verbal perfection and which particularizes itself in the realities in accordance with the relationship they have (to the magic words [?]). They think that those expressions 820 depend on vision to be established. If a person who works with words lacks vision but knows about that relationship through tradition, his actions correspond to those of the person who works with talismans. Indeed, as we have stated, the (latter) is more reliable than he.
In the same way, the person who works with talismans may mingle his actions and the powers of the stars which govern them, with the powers of prayers composed of special expressions indicating a relationship between those expressions and the stars. In his case, however, the relationship of expressions is not, as in the case of people who work with words, the result of direct observation in a state of vision. It is merely based upon the (general) basic requirement of the magic approach, namely, that the stars share in all the substances, accidents, essences, and ideas 821 existing in the world of created things. Letters and words belong to the things that exist in it. Thus, each star has its particular share in them. On this basis (magical practitioners) construct strange and disapproved theories. Namely, they divide the sarahs and verses of the Qur'an in this manner. That was what Maslamah al-Majriti, for instance, did in the Ghayah. It is also obvious from alBuni's attitude in the Anmat that he takes this method into consideration. A critical study of the Anmat and of the prayers the work contains and their distribution among the hours of the seven stars, as well as a look at the Ghayah and a critical study of the prayers (qiyamat) of the stars contained in it 822 - "qiyamat of the stars" is the name they give to the prayers that belong to each individual star, that is, the prayer performed (yuqdmu biha) for it - will show that this (procedure) belongs to the substance of (these works on letter magic) or that the relationship that came about in the original creation and in the purgatory (barzakh) of knowledge made all that necessary.
"And you were given but little knowledge." 823
One cannot deny the actual existence of all the sciences declared illegal by the religious law. It is definite that sorcery is true, although it is forbidden. But we are satisfied with the knowledge God taught us.
A few remarks (may help) to make things clear.824
Letter magic clearly is a kind of sorcery and, as such, attainable through various exercises which are legal according to the religious law. This comes about as follows. We have mentioned before 825 that two kinds of human beings are active in the world of created beings. 826 Prophets (are active) with the help of the divine power which God gave them by nature. Sorcerers (are active) with the help of the psychic power which is innate in them.
Saints may be active by acquiring the ability to be active through faith (al-kalimah al-imaniyah). It is a result of detachment (from the sensibilia). They do not have it intentionally. It comes to them spontaneously. If it happens to mighty saints, they avoid it and take refuge in God against it and consider it a temptation. 827 There is, for instance, the story of Abu Yazid al-Bistami 828 One evening, when he reached the bank of the Tigris, he was in a hurry.829 The two banks of the river came together (so that he would have been able to cross right over), but Abu Yazid invoked God's protection and said, "I will not sell my share in God for a farthing (adnaq)." So, he boarded a boat and crossed over with the ferrymen.
An innate ability for sorcery requires exercise, in order to be capable of transformation from potentiality into actuality. Some (magical ability) which is not innate may be acquired, but such (acquired magical ability) is inferior to innate (magical ability). One (would, in any case, have to) exercise to (acquire magical ability), as one does on behalf of (innate magical ability). The (procedure of) such magical exercise is well known. Its various kinds and the ways in which it is executed 830 are mentioned by Maslamah al-Majriti in the Kitab al-Ghayah and by Jabir b. Hayyan in his Treatises, as well as by others. They are employed by many people who want to acquire magical ability and learn its norms and the conditions governing it.
However, 831 this magical exercise of early (practitioners) is full of matters of unbelief. For instance, it includes devotions directed to the stars and prayers to them, called qiyamat,832 for the purpose of attracting their spirituality. It also includes the belief in influences by (beings) other than God, in that (one's) actions are tied to magical horoscopes and the mutual aspects of the stars in the signs (of the zodiac), in order to obtain the desired results.
*Many people who wished to be (magically) active in the world of existing things were arrested by this (fact). They wanted to obtain the (ability to be magically active) in a way that would have nothing to do with any involvement in unbelief and the practice of it. They turned their exercise into one that was legal according to the religious law. It consisted of dhikr exercises and prayers (subuhat) from the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions. They learned which of these things were appropriate for (their particular) need from the afore-mentioned division of the world with its essences, attributes, and actions according to the influences of the seven stars. In addition, they also selected the days and hours appropriate to the distribution of (the influences of the stars). They used this kind of legal exercise as a cover, in order to avoid having anything to do with ordinary sorcery, which is unbelief or calls for unbelief. They kept to a legal (kind of) devotion because of its general and honest character. That was done, for instance, by al-Buni in his Kitab alAnmat and other works of his, and by others. They called this approach "letter magic," since they were very eager to avoid the name of sorcery. In fact, (however,) they fall under the idea of sorcery, even though they have a legal (kind of) devotion. They are not at all free from the belief in influences by (beings) other than God.
These people also want to be (magically) active in the world of existing things. That is something forbidden by the Lawgiver (Muhammad). The miracles performed by the prophets were performed at God's command. He gave the power to perform them. The miracles of the saints were performed, because by means of the creation 833 of a necessary knowledge, through inspiration or something else, they obtained (divine) permission to perform them. They did not intend to perform them without permission.
Thus, the trickery of the people who practice letter magic should not be trusted. As I have made it clear, letter magic is a subdivision and kind of sorcery.
God guides toward the truth through His kindness.*
Many people want to be (magically) active but want to avoid having anything to do with any involvement in sorcery and the name and technicalities of sorcery. Therefore, they choose a special exercise consisting of prayers (subuhat) and dhikr exercises. They are legal according to the religious law and yet they correspond to magical exercise in the kind of devotion and the expressions used. They choose the time of certain ascendants, as is done by the people (the learned magicians). They refrain from having any harmful intentions in their devotion, so that, in this manner, they may have nothing to do with sorcery. But they are far off the mark in this (assumption). Any devotion in the intention of being (magically) active is the very same thing as sorcery. Moreover, if one looks at it carefully, the exercise of these people evokes (the idea of) magical exercise in view of the expressions used in it, as (one finds them) in the Anmat and other works of al-Bum.
Now, if the assumption is erroneous that this is a legal way of obtaining the ability to be (magically) active, it should be avoided. One should realize that (magical) activity from the very beginning is not legal and that the great saints keep away from it. The (great saints) who practiced it did so because they had permission, through inspiration or something else. Also, saints are (magically) active through faith (al-kalimah alimaniyah), and not through psychic power.
This is the true character of letter magic. As one can see, it is a subdivision and kind of sorcery.
God guides toward the truth through His kindness.
The Za'irajah 834
A branch of the science of letter magic, (practiced) among the (authorities on letter magic), is (the technique of) finding out answers from questions by means of connections existing between the letters of the expressions (used in the question). They imagine that these (connections) can form the basis for knowing the future happenings they want to know. Here we have something like puzzles and trick problems.835 There are many discussions of the subject by them. The most comprehensive and most remarkable discussion of it is as-Sabti's Za'irajah of the World. It has been mentioned before. Here, we shall explain what has been said about how to operate it. We shall quote the poem that, it is thought, as-Sabti wrote on the subject.836 Then, we shall give a description of the Za'irajah with its circle and the table written on the verso.836a Finally, we shall reveal the truth about it. It is nothing supernatural; (the indications derived from it) result from an agreement in the wording of question and answer. It is (just) one interesting way among others, and a curious one, for finding out the answer from the question with the help of the technique called the technique of "breaking down." 837 We have referred to all this before.
We have no authoritative tradition on which we might rely for the correctness of the poem and its attribution to asSabti 838 However, we have chosen (for our quotation) what gave the impression of being the best manuscript. This is the poem: 839
There speaks a little Ceutian, 840 praising his Lord,
Praying for a guide who was God's messenger to mankind, (namely,)
Muhammad who was sent as a prophet, the Seal of the Prophets,
And expressing his satisfaction 841 with the men around him and those who followed them:
Behold, this is the Za'irajah of the World which
You [sing.] see revealed through your [pl.] senses, and through the intellect.
Whoever knows how to compose (the za'irajah) will know his body,
And will obtain laws given from on high.
Whoever knows how to tie (it down) will obtain power
And be noted for having obtained the fear of God and everything. 842
He is seen taking on reality in the divine world.
This is the station of those who are perfected through dhikr exercises.
These are the secrets that you have to keep concealed.
Set them up in circles and balance (them) with h
And with t which has a "throne" on which it is engraved,
In poetry and prose, or which one sees arranged as a table.
Set up circles corresponding to the relationship of their spheres
And draw stars for their highest degrees.
Come out for its strings (chords), and draw letters for them,
And repeat the same (letters) on the border of those that are free.
Set up the shape of their zir, 843 and make its houses,
And verify with a bamm wherever their light is apparent.
Present sciences as an engineer for the natures (elements),
And an established knowledge of figurations and the quadrants.
Work with music and the knowledge of their 844 letters
And the knowledge of an instrument. And verify and bring about
And make circles and set down their letters in the right relationship.
Set free their world and list the zones in a table.
We have an amir 845 who desires Bougie for a Zanatah
Dynasty, which has appeared and which has manifestly seized power,
And a region of Spain, then[. . . ] 846
The Banu Nasr [?] came, and their victory followed.
Rulers, knights, and people of wisdom,
If you wish, write them down. Their region is empty.
A Mahdi of the Almohads who rule in Tunis,
Rulers for an East set down in magic squares,847
Cast a spell over the region, and believe.
If you wish, represent (it) in Latin without linguistic error,
And (Al)fonso and Barcelona. R is the letter for it.
Their Franc(is) is dh, 848 and is perfected with t.
And the Arabs, our people, have been weakened.
Abyssinian India and Sind (Western India), then Hurmus [?]
And Tatar Persians, and what beyond them.. . .
Their Byzantine Emperor is a h. Their (Persian) Yazdjard
Belongs to k. Their Copt was written with a long l,
And 'Abbas, all of them noble and venerable.
But (they are) a Turk when the (magical) activity ceases.
If you want to know the rulers exactly and to find them out,
Seal fields, then bring (them) into relation and list (them) in a table
According to the norm and science of the letters
And the knowledge of their nature, and set up the whole of it.
Whoever knows the sciences will know our science.
He will know the secrets of existence and become perfect.
He, then, has firmly rooted knowledge and knows His Lord,
And has a knowledge of predictions which is broken down through h-m.
And whenever there comes a name, and the meter prefers it 851
A wise man will definitely decide that he must be killed.
Letters will come to you. Then, try to pick them.
The letters of Sibawayh will come to you disconnected.
Then, strengthen with transformations and confront and exchange.
With your precious warble shake the parts
Select a (star) rise. Figure out its signs.
Reverse its root [?]. Straighten (it) out with the cycle.
Someone will perceive those things. He will achieve his purpose
And be given their letters in whose arrangement the evidence lies.
If it is lucky and the stars are lucky,
It should suffice you to have royal authority [?] and to in, have reached the dim star (d) in Ursa Major on high [?].
The melody of their d with its bridled bamm!
Thus, sound harmonic chimes, and you will find the right place in it,
The strings of their zir. To the h belongs their bamm
And their mathna. The mathlath has appeared through its j.
Make entries with spheres. Straighten things out with a table.
Draw a b c and the remaining letters of the alphabet according to their numerical value
And permit the irregularity of the meter that occurs. Something similar
Has occurred in the prosody of a number of people.
A principle of our religion, a principle of our jurisprudence,
And some knowledge of grammar, keep and obtain!
Bring in the wall [?] for a large tent in harmony [?]!
Praise His name and say, "God is great," and "There is no God but God,"
And you will (succeed in) bringing out verses on any desired object
Through natural rhyme and a secret from on high.
If they are thus brought together, the judgment implied in their number will be acquired, 852
And you will bring out verses. Twenty multiplied
By one thousand by nature, O master of the Table,
Will show crafts of multiplication that are perfect.
Thus, (your) wishes will come out right for you, and the (world) on high will come out right for you.
And rhyme with their zir and praise with a beat. Set it up in circles for a zir, and obtain (it).
Set it up with magic squares and a principle that you prepare
From the secrets of their letter, and bring it back in chain form.
Discussion of how to discover the relationships and qualities of the weights, 854 the powers of their opposites, the power of the grade which is distinguished according to the relationship to the place of attached mixtures of natures (elements), and the science of medicine, or the craft of alchemy.
O student of medicine and of Jabir's science (alchemy),855
And you who know the extent of the powers in succession,
If you want the science of medicine, there must exist a relationship
For the laws of scales, which 856 will hit upon a (possible) way.
Your patient will be cured. The elixir will be right.
The soundness of the mixtures of your composition will be apparent.
And you want Hawush 857-[SIGNS]-and his mind. . .
For Bahram-Birjis 858 and seven, who is perfect,
For dissolving pains of cold diseases. Make it correct
This way, and (make) the composition (correct) wherever it has been handed down.
Appearances of rays that concern the nativities
The knowledge of rays cast is difficult.
The side of their bows shows itself in a belt [?].
But on a pilgrimage, there is the place where our imam stands.
He appears when the latitude of the stars is straightened out.
There are positions whose longitude is made clear,
And (also their) latitude. By reaching that, he becomes a junction [?].
Places where there is a quartile with its sign in the dejection,
Their sextile has the trine of the sign of the one that follows.
One adds to the quartile. That is its analogy
In certainty, and its root [?]. With the 'ayn, it is made to work.
From the relationship of the two quarters combine your rays
With a s and double it. Its quartile will thus show itself.
This operation here concerns rulers. The operation of the rule is consistent. Nothing more remarkable has ever been seen.
The position of rulers:
The line of junction and separation:
The line of junction:
The line of separation:
The zir for every(thing) and the complete follower of the root [?]:
Junction and separation:
The complete necessary (line) in junctions:
The establishments of lights:
The answering root [?] in the operation:
The establishment of questions concerning rulers:
The position of children: The position of light:
The position of splendor:
(On) being spiritually influenced and divinely guided:
O student of the secret of praising (the oneness) of God,
With the beautiful names of God 859 you will hit upon a (possible) way.
The Rabbis of mankind will obey you with their heart(s),
As well as 860 their chief. It is operated in the sun [??].
You will see all mankind tied to you
If you wish, you will live in (the world of) existence together with the fear of God
And solid religion, or you will be firmly rooted 861
I see you clothed in the secret of Bistam.864
You will come into being created in the world on high,
As the Indians have said, and the Sufi crowd.
The path of the Messenger of God sparkles with the truth.
No work of a quality similar to (that of) Gabriel has yet been invented.
Your courage is saying, "There is no God but God,"
and your bow is the (East where the sun) rises [?].
Thursday is the beginning. Sunday appears.
On a Friday, too, the same (will be done [?]) with the names,
And on Monday, you will perfect the beautiful names of God.
In its t, there is a secret, as well as in its h
At the end of the Resurrection, it is followed by a prayer
And sincere devotion, with the seven mathani 865 being chanted.
The junction of the lights of the stars:
In your right hand, there is an iron (ring) and a seal ... but not in prayer.
Make (your) heart the tablet (to write on) the verse of Resurrection.
Recite and chant (it) when people are asleep.
It is the secret contained in the created beings; there is nothing but it.
It is the greatest verse. Therefore, make (it) accurate and get (it).
Through it, you will become a "pole" if you serve well.
You will perceive secrets from the world on high.
Sari communicated them and, after him, Ma`ruf 866
Al-Hallaj 867 divulged them and was killed.
Ash-Shibli 868 always worked on them,
Until he went up higher than the (ordinary) Sufis and was exalted.
Therefore, clean your heart eagerly from impurities.
Practice dhikr exercises constantly. Fast. Do supererogatory devotions.
The secret of the people (the mystics) has been attained only by thorough (devotees)
Who knew the secret of the sciences and were competent.
The position of love, of the inclination of the souls, of exertion, obedience, worship, love, infatuation, annihilation of annihilation (nonbeing), devotion, observance, and friendship 869 with permanent physical passivity.
Birjis 870 has the magic square for love.
The mixture has been prepared with tin or copper which were caused to work,
Or with silver. Correct I have seen it:
Your making its lucky position an ascendant is not improper. 871
Try to get through it an increase of light for the moon.
Your making its sun ready to accept 872 is something firmly grounded.
Put it to sleep with the incense being aloe wood belonging to their India,
And fix an hour. Its prayer is a benefit [?].
Its prayer is for a purpose. Thus, it is caused to work.
Its prayer from Taysaman, which is ornamented,
Is used, or a prayer for whose composition letters
Or problems are prepared with hot air.
You shall engrave letters with d and its l.
That is a magic square which consists of sixteen fields.
If their indication [?] does not please you,
Make good its b, and bring them away to 873
That which pleases you. The small remainder of them is summarized.
Engrave certain shapes from some of them.
Whatever you add, make it proportionate, equal to your action
And the key of Maryam. For the actions of both of them are alike.
A call went out, and a Bistami recited her (Maryam's) surah.
Let your acting (be) with support. Search for
The proofs of a savage person who was set up for his text.
Turn over its 874 houses with a thousand and more.
Inside it, there is a secret. In the search for it, it has become apparent.
On the stations for the end.
You have the supernatural, a picture from the world on high.
You make it find a house. Its clothing is jewelry.
Beautiful like Joseph-this one, similar to him,
He is powerful and speaks about the supernatural.
He resembles a lute that competes with a nightingale.
Buhlul 876 went crazy from love of her beauty.
When she appeared to Bistam, he was forsaken
And died. . . . The love of her was instilled into
Junayd and Basri. 877 They (he) neglected (their, his) body.
The ultimate in praise (of the oneness) of God is sought. Whoever has
God's beautiful names for himself without any relationship,
And whoever possesses them, succeeds with wisdom
And attains nearness to the neighbors of (the world) on high.
You will be informed about the supernatural,878 if you render good service,
Which will show you remarkable things, to Him who is a refuge.
This is true success. (It is) goodness that attains it.
From (those things), there result additions for their interpretation which follows [?].
Testament, final statement, faith, Islam, prohibition, and suitability.
This is our poem. Ninety is its number
And the additional (verses) for introduction, end, and table.
I am surprised by verses, whose number is ninety,
Which produce (more) verses whose complete number is not apparent.
Whosoever understands the secret, let him understand himself,
And let him understand an ambiguous commentary which is difficult,
Forbidden and lawful, in order to show our secret
To people, even if they are a select group and have the suitable qualification.
If you want people suitable for it, place them under a strong oath.
Maltreat them 879 with manliness and extended religiosity.
Perhaps you will be saved, as well as the one who hears their secret,
From deciding to divulge (it), and you will become a chief on high.
A son of 'Abbas keeps his secret hidden.
Thus, he obtained much happiness, and high rank followed him.
The Messenger of God rose among the people as preacher,
The spirits have boarded bodies to manifest themselves [?],
And have applied themselves, in order to kill them, by prolonged knocking
At the high world. Our nonexistence becomes nonexistent,
And we put on the garment of existence in succession.
Our rhyming is completed. Pray, our God,
For the seal of the messengers a prayer that will effect exaltation.
Pray, O God of the throne, Glorious and Exalted,
For a lord who ruled and perfected mankind,
Muhammad, the guide, the intercessor, our leader,
And (pray for) the men around him, the noble, exalted people.
A rank that results from friendship.
The correct determination of sun and moon
The za'irajah is completed.
The procedure of finding answers from questions
A question may have three hundred and sixty answers, according to the degrees (of the firmament). The answers to one question under a given ascendant differ in accordance with different questions (forming part of the question asked), which are referred to the letters of the chords of the za'irajah and (in accordance with) the operation applied to finding out the letters from the verse of the poem. 881
Note: The letters of the chords and the table are composed of three basic types. (1) Arabic letters, which are taken at their face value (as numerals). (2) Ghubar letters.882 They are treated differently. Some are taken at their face value, when there are no more than four cycles. 883 If there are more than four, they are used as tens as well as hundreds, as required by the operation, as we shall explain. (3) Zimam letters. They are treated in the same way (as ghubar letters). However, the zimam letters offer another possibility. One may be used as one thousand and ten (as ten thousand), and they (may be used) in the proportion of five (to one) in relation to the Arabic letters [?]. One may place in (each) field of the table three letters of this type and two of the (other) type. Empty fields may be left in the table. If there are more than four basic cycles, (the empty fields) are counted in vertically. If there are no more than four, only the filled fields are counted.
The operation with the question requires seven principles. (1) The number of the letters of the chords. (2) The retention of their cycles after division by twelve. There are always eight cycles in the complete one, and six in the incomplete one. (3) The knowledge of the degree of the ascendant. (4) The ruler of the sign (of the zodiac). (5) The greatest principal cycle, which is always one. (6) The result of adding the ascendant to the principal cycle. And (7) the result of multiplying ascendant plus cycle by the ruler of the sign (of the zodiac), and (8) 884 of the ruler of the sign (of the zodiac) added to the ascendant.
The whole operation takes place in three cycles multiplied by four, thus making twelve cycles. The relationship of these three cycles, which are [. . .] 885 each growth having a beginning. Then, they are multiplied as quadruple cycles as well as triple cycles [?]. Then, they may be the result of six multiplied by two, and thus have a(nother) growth. This is something apparent in the operation.
These cycles are followed by "results." They are in [?] the cycles. There may be one result, or more than one, up to six.
Now, to begin with, let us assume that someone asks, "Is the za'irajah a modern or an ancient science?" 886 The ascendant is in the first degree of Sagittarius. 887 Thus, we place the letters of the chord of the beginning of Sagittarius and the corresponding chord of the beginning of Gemini and, in the third place, the chord of the beginning of Aquarius up to the limit of the center. We add to it the letters of the questions.
We look at the number of (the letters). The smallest number there can be is eighty-eight,888 and the largest ninetysix. This is the total of a complete cycle. Our question consists of ninety-three letters.889 If the question contained more than ninety-six letters, it would be shortened by 890 dropping all twelve cycles. One keeps what comes out from them and what remains.891 In our question, there are seven cycles. The remainder is nine.892 They are set down among the letters, as long as the ascendant has not reached twelve degrees. If it has reached twelve degrees, no number or cycle is set down for them. But their numbers are again set down, when the ascendant has reached more than twenty-four degrees in the third decan.893
The ascendant is then set down as one, the ruler of the ascendant (the sign of the zodiac) as four, and the greatest cycle as one. The total of ascendant and cycle is added up, and, in this question, makes two. This total is multiplied by the ruler of the sign. This is eight. The ruler is added to the ascendant. This is five. These are (the) seven principles.
The result of multiplying the ascendant and the greatest cycle by the ruler of Sagittarius, when it is less than twelve, is entered at the "side of eight" from the bottom of the table upward. When it is more than twelve, it is divided in cycles. The remainder is entered at the side of eight. A mark is put upon the end of the number. The five that is the result of the addition of ruler and ascendant is what is entered 894 on the side of the uppermost large surface of the table. One counts, consecutively, groups of five cycles and keeps them until the number stops opposite the fields of the table that are filled. If it stops opposite one of the empty fields of the table, one should not pay any attention and go on with the cycles, until one reaches one of four letters, namely, alif, b, j, or z. In our operation, the number falls upon alif and leaves three cycles behind. Thus, we multiply three by three, which gives nine. That is the number of the first cycle. This must be set down. The total between the vertical and long sides must be added up. Then it will be in the field of eight.
The number in the first cycle, which is nine, must be entered in the front (recto) of the table adjacent to the field in which the two are brought together, going towards the left, which is (the field of) eight. It thus falls upon the letter lam-alif, but no composite letter ever comes out of it. It thus is just the letter t - four hundred in zimam letters 895 A mark is put on it, after removing it, (indicating that it belongs) to the verse of the poem. 896
Then, one adds up the numbers of the cycle of the ruler. one gets thirteen, which is entered among the letters of the chords. One sets down (the letter) upon which the number falls and puts a mark upon it, (indicating that it belongs to) the verse of the poem.
This rule shows how much the letters circulate according to the natural order. This is as follows. One adds the letter of the first cycle, which is nine, to the ruler of the sign (of the zodiac), which is four. Thus, one gets thirteen. This is doubled. Thus, one gets twenty-six. From this, one subtracts the degree of the ascendant, which, in this particular question, is one. Thus, there remains twenty-five. Accordingly, the first order of the letter <is twenty-five>, then twenty-three twice, then twenty-two twice, according to that subtraction, until the (procedure) reaches one at the end of the rhymed verse. 897 One does not stop at twenty-four, because the one (which would make twenty-four out of twentyfive) had originally been subtracted.
Then, one takes the second cycle and adds the letters of the first cycle to the eight resulting from the multiplication of ascendant and cycle by the ruler. This gives seventeen. The remainder is five. Thus, one goes up five on the side of eight from where one had stopped in the first cycle. One puts a mark on (that place). One enters seventeen on the front (recto) of the table, and then five. One does not count empty fields. The cycle is that of tens. We find the letter th - five hundred, but it (counts the same as) n, because our cycle represents the tens. Thus, five hundred is (counted as) fifty, because its cycle is seventeen. If it had been twentyseven, it would have been in the hundreds. Thus, one sets down an n.
Then, one enters five, also from the beginning, and notes what (number of) the surface it confronts. It is found to be one. One reverses the number one. It falls upon five. One adds the one of the surface to five, and gets six. One sets down a w and marks it with four [?] (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. One adds them to the eight which was the result of the multiplication of ascendant and cycle by the ruler. Thus, one gets twelve. The remainder of the second cycle, namely five, is added to twelve. Thus, one gets seventeen. That is something that belongs to the second cycle. Thus, we enter seventeen among the letters of the chords. The number falls upon one. Thus, one sets down alif and puts a mark upon it (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. Of the letters of the chords, one drops three, the number of the result of the second cycle.
Then, one makes the third cycle. One adds five to eight and gets thirteen. The remainder is one. One moves the cycle at the side of eight by one. One enters thirteen into the verse of the poem. One takes the (letter) upon which the number falls. It is q. A mark is put upon it. Thirteen is entered among the letters of the chords. One sets down what comes out. It is s. A mark is put upon it (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. Then, the one which is the remainder of the cycle of thirteen is entered next to the resulting s. One takes the chord next to the letters. It is b. It is set down, and a mark (indicating that it belongs) to the verse of the poem is put upon it. This is called the "leaning cycle." Its scale is correct. This is as follows. One doubles thirteen and adds to it the one which remains of the cycle. Thus, one gets twenty-seven. This is the letter b, which is derived from the chords (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. Thirteen is entered at the front part of the table. One notes what (part of) the surface confronts it. One doubles it and adds to it the one which is the remainder of thirteen. This is the letter j. The total, thus, is seven. This is the letter z. We set it down and put a mark upon it (indicating that it belongs) to the verse of the poem. The scale of it is that one doubles seven and adds to it the one which is the remainder of thirteen. Thus, one gets fifteen. It is the fifteenth of the verse of the poem. This is the end of the triple cycles.
Then, one makes the fourth cycle. It has the number nine, (obtained) by adding the remainder of the previous cycle. One then multiplies ascendant and cycle by the ruler. This cycle ends the operation in the first field of the quadruple (cycles).
Then, one picks two letters from the chords, goes up nine on the side of eight, and enters nine from the cycle of the letter which was taken last from the verse of the poem. The ninth is the letter r. It is set down, and a mark is put upon it. Then, nine is entered on the front (recto) of the table, and one notes what (letter of) the surface faces it. It is j. One reverses the number one. That is alif. This is the second after [?] the letter r (belonging) to the verse of the poem.
It is set down, and a mark is put upon it. One counts nine, starting next to the second. It again is an alif. It is set down, and a mark is put upon it. Then, one picks a letter from the chords and doubles nine. This gives eighteen. One enters it among the letters of the chords and comes to a stop at the letter r. It is set down and marked with eight and four, (indicating that it belongs) to the verse of the poem. Then, one enters eighteen among the letters of the chords and comes to a stop at the letter s. It is put down and marked with two. One adds two to nine, which is eleven, and enters eleven on the front (recto) of the table. It is confronted by an alif from the surface. It is set down and marked with six.
Then, one makes the fifth cycle. Its number is seventeen. The remainder is five. One goes up five on the side of eight. One picks two letters from the chords. One doubles five and adds the result to seventeen, the number of its cycle. The total is twenty-seven. It is entered among the letters of the chords. It falls upon t. It is set down and marked with thirtytwo. One subtracts the two which is at the base of thirtytwo,898 from seventeen. The remainder is fifteen. One enters it among the letters of the chords and comes to a stop at q. It is set down and marked with twenty-six. On the front part of the table one enters twenty-six. One comes to a stop at two in ghubar letters. That is the letter b. It is entered and marked with fifty-four.
Then, one picks two letters from the chords and makes the sixth cycle. Its number is thirteen. The remainder is one. Thus, it becomes clear that the cycle of order (rhyming [?]) belongs to twenty-five. The cycles are ninety [?]-five, seventeen, five, thirteen, and one. One multiplies five by five which gives twenty-five. This is the cycle in the order of the verse. One removes the cycle on the side of eight by one. But, as we have mentioned before, thirteen is not entered in the verse of the poem, because it is a second cycle of a second compositional growth. But we add to one the four that belongs to the fifty-four which led to b (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. This gives five. One adds five to the thirteen that belongs to the cycle, and gets eighteen. One enters it on the front (recto) of the table and takes (the letter of) the surface that confronts it. It is alif. It is set down and marked with twelve, (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. One picks two letters from the chords.
At this point, one looks at the letters of the question. The (letters) that have come out (in the preceding operation) are paired with the verse of the poem, beginning at the end. One marks them with the letters of the question, so that it enters numerically into the verse of the poem. The same is done with every letter that comes out hereafter, in correspondence with the letters of the question. All the letters coming out are paired with the verse of the poem, beginning at the end, and a mark is put on them.
Then, one adds to eighteen the units with which one has marked the letter alif. They come to two. Thus, one gets a total of twenty. One enters it among the letters of the chords and comes to a stop at the letter r. It is set down and marked with ninety-six, (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. This is the end of the cycle with regard to chord letters.
Then, one picks two letters from the chords and makes the seventh cycle. It is the beginning of the second of the two "inventions." This cycle contains the number nine. One adds one to it. Thus, one gets ten 899 for the second growth.
This one is added later on to twelve cycles, if it belongs to that proportion, or it is taken away from the principal (cycle). Thus, one gets a total of ten. One goes up on the side of ninety-eight, enters ten on the front (recto) of the table, and gets thus to stop at five hundred. It is, however, (counted) only as fifty, n. It is to be doubled. Thus, it is q. It is set down and marked with fifty-two (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. Two is dropped from fifty-two, and the nine which belongs to the cycle is dropped. The remainder is forty-one. One enters it among the letters of the chords and thus comes to a stop at one, which is set down. One also enters (forty-one) in the verse of the poem and thus finds one. This is the scale of the second growth.
It is marked with two signs (as belonging) to the verse of the poem, one (which is put) upon the last alif of the scale, and another upon the first alif. The second is twenty-four. Then, one picks two letters from the chords and makes the eighth cycle. Its number is seventeen. The remainder is five. One enters (it) on the side of fifty-eight, enters five in the verse of the poem, and thus comes to a stop at 'ayn, seventy. It is set down, and a mark is put upon it. Five is entered in the table. One takes the (number) of the surface confronting it. It is one. It is set down and marked with forty-eight, (as belonging) to [?] 899a the verse. One drops one from forty-eight for the second base and adds to it the five of the cycle. The total is fifty-two. That is entered on the front (recto) of the table. One thus comes to a stop at the ghubar letter two. It is in the order of hundreds, because it should be a larger number. Thus, it is (counted as) two hundred, which is the letter r.900 It is set down and marked with twenty-four; (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. Having reached ninetysix, the whole thing starts from the beginning, which is twenty-four. One adds the five of the cycle to twenty-four and drops one. The total is twenty-eight. One enters half of it in the verse of the poem and thus comes to a stop at eight. Thus, h is set down, and a mark is put upon it.
One makes the ninth cycle. Its number is thirteen. The remainder is one. One goes up one on the side of eight. Here the operation does not follow the same procedure as in the sixth cycle, because the number should be many times larger. Also, the (cycle) belongs to the second growth and is the beginning of the third third of the quadruple (arrangement) of the signs of the zodiac and the end of the third fourth of the triple (arrangement).
Thus, one multiplies the thirteen of the cycle by the four that is (the number of) the preceding triple (arrangement) of the signs of the zodiac. The total is fifty-two. One enters it on the front (recto) of the table and thus comes to a stop at the ghubar letter two. However, it is in the hundreds, having gone beyond the units and tens. Therefore, it is set down as two hundred, r, and marked with forty-eight, (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. One adds the one of the base to the thirteen of the cycle, enters fourteen in the verse of the poem, and thus comes to a stop at h. It is marked with twenty-eight. Seven is subtracted from fourteen. There remains seven.
Then, one picks two letters from the chords. One enters seven and thus comes to a stop at the letter l. It is set down, and a mark (indicating that it belongs) to the verse is put on it.
Then, one makes the tenth cycle. Its number is nine. It is the beginning of the fourth triple (arrangement). One goes up nine on the side of eight. There is an empty (field). One goes up another nine and gets into the seventh (field) from the beginning. One multiplies nine by four, because we have gone up twice nine, so that (nine) was only multiplied by two. One enters thirty-six in the table and thus comes to a stop at the zimam letter four. It should be in the tens, but we take is as a unit, because there are too few cycles. Thus, the letter d is set down. If one adds the one of the base to thirtysix, its limit [?] belongs to the verse of the poem. A mark is put upon it. If one had entered on the front (recto) of the table nine and nothing else, without multiplication, one would have come to a stop at eight. Thus, one divides forty-eight (by twelve).901 The remainder is four. This is what one wants. If one had entered eighteen, which is nine multiplied by two, on the front (recto) of the table, one would have come to a stop at the zimam letter one, which belongs to the tens. One subtracts two, which was used to double the nine. The remainder is eight, half of which is (four. Again, this is) what one looks for. If, by multiplying (nine) by three, one were to enter twenty-seven on the front (recto) of the table, one would come to a stop at the zimam letter ten. The operation is the same.
Then, nine is entered into the verse of the poem. (The letter) which comes out is set down. It is alif. Then, one multiplies nine with the three which is the component of the previous nine, drops one, and enters twenty-six in the front (recto) of the table. The number that comes out - two hundred -is set down with the letter r. It is marked with ninetysix, (as belonging) to the verse of the poem.
Then, one picks two letters from the chords and makes the eleventh cycle. It has (the number) seventeen. The remainder is five. One goes up five on the side of eight, corresponding to what had been undertaken in the first cycle. One enters four 902 on the front (recto) of the table and comes to a stop at an empty (field). One takes (the number of) the surface which confronts it. It is one. Thus, one enters one into the verse of the poem. This is r-s 903 It is set down and marked with four. If we had come to a stop at a filled field of the table, we would have set down the one as three. One doubles seventeen, drops the one, and adds four. Thus, one gets thirtyseven. One enters it in the chords and comes to a stop at h 904 It is entered and marked with five. One doubles five, enters (ten) into the verse, and thus comes to a stop at l. It is set down and marked with twenty.
Then, one picks two letters from the chords and makes the twelfth cycle. It has (the number) thirteen. The remainder is one. One goes up one on the side of eight. This cycle is the last cycle, the end of the two inventions, the end of the three quadruple (arrangements), and the end of the four triple (arrangements).
The one on the front (recto) of the table falls upon the zimam letter eight, which is just eight units. The only (number) we have in the cycles is one. Were there more than a four in the quadruple (arrangement) of the twelve, or more than a three in the triple (arrangement) of the twelve, there would be h (eight). But it is just d (four). Therefore, it is set down and marked with seventy-four, (as belonging) to the verse of the poem. Then, one notes which (number) from the surface corresponds to it. It is five. The five which belongs to the base, is added to it. Thus, one gets ten. A y is set down, and a mark is put upon it. One notes in which rank it occurs. We find it in the seventh.905 Thus, we enter seven among the letters of the chords. This entry is called the "letter birth." There is an f. One sets it down and adds the one of the cycle to seven. The total is eight. One enters it among the chords and gets to s. It is set down and marked with eight. One multiplies eight by the three that is in excess of the ten of the cycle - because it is the end of three quadruple (arrangements) of the cycles - and gets twenty-four. It is entered into the verse of the poem, and a mark is put upon (the number) which comes out from it. It is two hundred (r). Its sign is ninety-six, which is the end of the second 906 cycle of the letter cycles.
One picks two letters from the chords and writes down the first result. It has a nine. This number always corresponds to the remainder of the letters of the chords, after they have been divided into (twelve) cycles. It is nine.907
Then, one multiplies nine with the three which is in excess of the ninety letters of the chords, and adds to it the one which is the remainder in the twelfth cycle. Thus, one gets twenty-eight. One enters it among the letters of the chords and gets to an alif. It is set down and marked with ninety-six. If the seven 908 - which is the cycles of the ninety letters is multiplied by four - which is the three that is in excess of ninety plus the one that is the remainder in the twelfth cycle - the result is the same.
One goes up nine on the side of eight and enters nine in the table. Thus, one gets to the zimam letter two. One multiplies nine with the (number) of the surface corresponding to it, namely, three. Seven, the number of the chords with letters, is added to it, and the one which is the remainder in the twelfth cycle is subtracted. Thus, one gets thirty-three. One enters it into the verse and gets to five. One puts it down 909 (as h), doubles nine, and enters eighteen on the front (recto) of the table. One takes (the number) which is on the surface. It is one. One enters it among the letters of the chords and gets to an m. It is set down, and a mark is put upon it.
Then, one picks two letters from the chords and writes down the second result. It has (the number) seventeen. The remainder is five. One goes up on the side of fifty-eight 910 Five is multiplied by the three which is in excess of ninety. Thus, one gets fifteen. One adds to it the one which is the remainder in the twelfth cycle. This is nine. 911 One enters sixteen into the verse and gets to a t. It is set down and marked with sixty-four. One adds to five the three which is in excess of ninety, and one adds the one which is the remainder in the twelfth cycle. This is thirty-nine. 912 One enters it on the front (recto) of the table and gets to the zimam letter thirty. One notes what (number) is on the surface. It is found to be one. It is set down (as alif), and a mark (indicating that it belongs) to the verse of the poem is put upon it. It also is the ninth from the verse. One enters nine on the front (recto) of the table and comes to a stop at a three in the tens. Therefore, an l (thirty) is set down, and a mark is put upon it.
Then, one writes down the third result. Its number is thirteen. The remainder is one. One moves one on the side of eight. The three which is in excess of ninety, and the one which is the remainder in the twelfth cycle are added to thirteen. Thus, one gets seventeen, plus the one of the result, which gives eighteen. It is entered among the letters of the chords. It is an l, which is set down.
This is the end of the operation.
The example in the preceding question was this. We wanted to know whether the za'irajah was a modern or an ancient science.913 The ascendant was in the first degree of Sagittarius. We set down:
The letters of the chords.
The letters of the question.
The principles, which are:
(1) The number of the letters - ninety-three.
(2) The cycles of (the letters) - seven, with the remainder of nine.
(3) The ascendant - one.
(4) The ruler of Sagittarius - four.
(5) The greatest cycle - one.
(6) The degrees of the ascendant plus the cycle - two.
(7) Ascendant plus cycle multiplied by the ruler eight.
(8) The ruler added to the ascendant-five.
The verse of the poem: 914
A weighty question you have got. Keep, then, to yourself
Remarkable doubts which have been raised and which can be straightened out with diligence.
The letters of the chords:
s, t, d, 915 t, h, n, th, k, h, m, d, s, w, n, th, h, s, alif, b, l, m, n, s, 'ayn, f, d, q, r, s, y, k, 1, m, n, s, 'ayn, f, q, r, s, t, th, kh, dh, z, gh, sh, t, k, n, 'ayn, h, s, z, w, h, l, s, k, l, m, n, s, alif, b, j, d, h, w, z, h, t, y.
The letters of the question:
alif, l, z,915a y, r, j, t; 'ayn, l, m; m, h, d, th, alif, m;
q, d, y, m.
Their period is according to twenty-five, then twentythree twice, then twenty-one twice, until one gets to the one at the end of the verse [?].920 All the letters are moved. And
God knows better.
t, r, w, h, n; r, w, h; alif, l, q, d, s; atif, b, r,
z; s, r, h, alif;
End of the discussion of how to find answers in rhymed form from the Za'irajah of the World.
People have methods other than the zd'irajah for finding out answers from questions. (However,) those answers are not rhymed.
I think 922 that the secret of obtaining a rhymed answer from the za'irajah lies in the fact that a verse, namely, that of Malik b. Wuhayb -"A weighty question, etc."- enters (into the operation). Thus, one gets an answer which rhymes on the rhyme letter of Malik's verse. In other methods, there is no rhymed answer.923
We are going to report this much about other methods of finding answers. A competent (practitioner of letter magic) said:
On learning hidden secrets from letter connections 924
Let it be known to you - God guide us and you 925 - that the following letters are the basis for answers to any problem. They produce the answers through total division. 926 There are forty-three letters, as one can see:
alif, w, l, alif, 'ayn, z, s, atif, l, m, kh, y, d, l,
z, q, t, alif,
Some excellent man has worked these letters into the form of a verse in which every double consonant stands for two letters. He called the (verse) the "pole." It runs:
A weighty question you have got. Keep, then, to yourself
Remarkable doubts which have been raised and which can be straightened out with diligence.927
If one wants to produce the (answer from the) question, one must eliminate the letters of the question that are repeated and set down those that remain. Then, one eliminates one letter that is similar to (a letter of the question) from the basic (verse), the "pole," for each remaining letter of the question. One sets down what remains. Then, one mixes the two remainders together in one line. One begins by taking as the first (letter), one from the remainder from the basic (verse), and as the second, one from the remainder from the question, and so forth, until the two remainders are finished, or until one of them is finished before the other. (In the latter case,) one leaves the rest as it is. If the number of the letters that come out after the mixing agrees with the number of the letters in the basic (verse), before elimination, the operation is correct. Then, one adds to them five n's, in order to have the musical scales balanced and to have a complete complement of forty-eight letters. With those letters, one fills a table of squares. The end of the first line is the beginning of the second, and the rest is moved as it is, and so forth, until the table is filled and the first line reoccurs. The letters in the "region" follow each other in proportion to the motion. Then, one finds out the chord of each letter through square division by the smallest aliquot part found in it, 927a and one puts (each) chord opposite its letter. Then, one finds out the elemental relations for the letters of the table and indicates their natural power, their spiritual power, their spiritual scales, their psychic dispositions, and their principal bases from the table which has been composed for the purpose and which looks as follows: 928
Then, 929 one takes the chord of each letter after multiplying it by the bases of the four cardines of the (celestial) spheres. One should avoid what is adjacent to the cardines and also the sawaqit, 930 because their relationship is confused. The result here is the first degree of diffusion.931 Then, one takes the total of the elements and subtracts from it [?] the bases of the generated things. There remain the bases of the world of creation, after it has been exposed to the moments [?] of creation. Then, there are transferred to it some abstractions from matter - the elements that constitute matter. The result is the middle horizon of the soul. The first degree of diffusion is subtracted from the total of the elements. There remains 932 the world of mediation. It has to do with the world of simple beings, and not with (those of) composite ones.
The world of mediation is then multiplied by the middle horizon of the soul. The result is the most high horizon. To it, the first degree of diffusion is transferred. Then, the first of the elements basically constituting matter is subtracted from the fourth (degree of diffusion [?]). There remains the third degree of diffusion. The total of the particulars of the elements is always multiplied by the fourth degree of diffusion. The result is the first world of particularization. The result of the multiplication of the second (element) with the second (degree of diffusion) is the second world of particularization; that of the third with the third is the third; and that of the fourth with the fourth is the fourth world of particularization. The worlds of particularization are added up and subtracted from the world of totality. There remain the worlds of abstraction. They are divided by the most high horizon. The result is the first particular. The remainder is divided by the middle horizon. The result is the second particular. The remainder is the third. The fourth here is fixed for the fourth (division [?]). If one wants more than four (divisions [?]), one must increase the number of the worlds of particularization, that of the degrees of diffusion, and that of the magic squares containing letters in their numerical value. God guide us and you.
Likewise, if the world of abstraction is divided by the first degree of diffusion, the result is the first particular of the world of composition, and so forth to the end of the last degree of the world of existence.
This should be understood and contemplated. God is guide and helper. .
Another method to find the answer is this. A competent (practitioner of letter magic) said:
Let it be known to you - God strengthen us and you with a spirit coming from Him - that the science of letters is an important science. The scholar who knows it comes to know things that he would not be able to know with the help of any other science in the world. The practice of the science of (letter magic) requires certain conditions. With its help, the scholar may discover the secrets of creation and the inner workings of nature. Thus, he learns the two results of philosophy, which are letter magic and its sister (alchemy). The veil of the unknown is lifted for him. He thus learns the contents of the secret recesses of the heart. A number of people in the Maghrib have been observed 933 to have a knowledge of the science (of letter magic). They have produced remarkable and extraordinary things and have been active in the world of existence with the help of God. It should be known that every virtue depends on exertion. A good habit, together with patience, is the key to everything good, just as a lack of skill and haste are the beginning of all failure.
I say: If one wants to know the power of each letter of the alphabetos 934 - the alphabet - to the last number - and this is the beginning of the science of letters - one must look for the number that belongs to each letter. This degree, which means harmony for the letters [?], constitutes the power that a (particular letter) possesses with regard to the corporealia. The number is then multiplied by itself. The result is the power that a (particular letter) possesses with regard to the spiritualia. It is the "chord" (of the particular letter). This cannot be done with letters that have diacritical points. It can be done only with those that have no diacritical points, because the letters with diacritical points have degrees of meaning which will be explained later on.935
It should be known that the form of every letter has a (corresponding) form in the world on high, the (divine) throne. These (forms) may be moving or stationary, high or low, as is indicated in the proper places on the tables written down in (connection with) the za'irajahs.
It should be known that the powers of the letters fall into three categories. The first (category) is the least (important one). It is a power that becomes manifest after (the letters) have been written down. Such (a letter) is thus written down for a spiritual world which belongs to that particular letter. Whenever the letter produces a psychic power and concentration of mind, the powers of letters exercise an influence upon the world of the bodies.
The second (category) is the power of (the letters) in the realm of thought. It is the result of the activation of the spiritualia for (the letters). It is a power among the spiritualia on high, and a formal power in the world of corporealia.
The third (category) is what causes the inward - the psychic power - to concentrate upon bringing (the letter) into being. Before (a letter) is pronounced, it is a form in the soul. After it is pronounced, it is a form among the letters and a power in speech.
The natures of (the letters) are the same as those attributed to (all) created things, namely, heat-and-dryness, heat-and-cold, cold-and-humidity, and cold-and-dryness. This is the secret of the ogdoad. Heat combines air and fire. The two are (represented by the letters) 936 alif, h, t, m,, f, sh, dh, j, z, k, s, q, th, and z. Cold combines earth and water: d, h, l, 'ayn, r, kh, gh, b, w, y, n, s, t, and d. Humidity combines air and water: j, z, k, s, q, th, z, d, h, l, 'ayn, r, kh, and gh. Dryness combines fire and earth: alif, h, t, m, f, sh, dh, b, w, y, n, s, t, and d. This is the relationship and mutual interpenetration of the letters representing the natures and the interpenetration of the particulars of the world within (the letters) on high and here below, through the agency of the primary mothers, that is, the four individual natures (elements).
If one wants to find out the unknown from a given question, one must ascertain the ascendant of the questioner, or the ascendant of his question. Then, the letters of the four cardines of (the horoscope) - one, five,937 seven, and ten must be "spelled" (istintaq) 938 equally and according to order, and the numbers of the powers and the chords must be found out, as we shall explain. One adds up, establishes proportions, and tries to open up [?] the answer. Thus, one will find what one is looking for, either clearly expressed or implied.
The same is the case with any question one may happen to have to explain. If one wants to discover the powers of the letters of the ascendant, together with the name of the questioner and the object, one must add up the numerical values of (the letters) according to the "great calculation." 939 The ascendant, (let us assume,) is Aries, (and) the fourth (sign after Aries) 940 is Cancer, the seventh Libra, and the tenth Capricornus, which is. the strongest of the cardines. The article that goes with the name of each sign is omitted. One notes which rational numbers placed in their circle belong to each house (of the zodiac). Then, all the parts of multiples [?] in the proportions resulting from istintaq are eliminated. Under each letter, (the number [?]) which belongs to it in this connection is written down. Then, one follows the same procedure with regard to the numerical values of the letters of the four elements and (the number [?]) that belongs to them. All these (numbers) are written as letters. The cardines, powers, and dispositions 941 are arranged in a mixed line. One spells the letters out and multiplies whatever must be multiplied, in order to find out the (various) scales. One sums up and tries to open up [?] the answer. Thus, the hidden thought and its answer will be found.
For instance, let us assume that the ascendant is Aries (al-hamal), as mentioned before. It is written down (in unconnected letters) h-m-l. The numerical value of h is eight, which can be divided by two, four, and eight. (It thus yields) d (four), b (two), and alif (one). The numerical value of m is forty, which can be divided by two, four, eight, ten, and twenty. (It thus yields,) to be precise, [m (forty),] k (twenty), y (ten), h (five), d (four), and b (two). The numerical value of l is thirty, which can be divided by two, two-thirds, three, five, six, and ten. (It thus yields) k (twenty), y (ten), w (six), h (five), and j (three). The same is done with all the letters of the question and the name in each word which happens to occur (in connection with the problem). The chords are found by dividing the square of each letter by its smallest aliquot part. 942 For instance, the numerical value of d is four, the square of four is sixteen. This (number) is to be divided by its smallest aliquot part, namely, two. Thus, the chord of d is eight. Each chord, then, is placed opposite its letter. Then, the elemental relationships are found out, as has been mentioned before in connection with the explanation of the spelling (method of the great calculation). They have a foundation useful for finding them out from the nature of the letter and the nature of the field of the table in which the (letter) occurs, as was mentioned by the shaykh for (the benefit of) those who know the technical terminology.
Deductions that can be drawn with the help
of letter systems as to deeply hidden thoughts.
This goes as follows: If someone asks what is the sickness of the patient, the cause of whose disease is not known, and what medicine will be appropriate for its cure, one orders the person who asks the question to name something that can be applied to the name of the unknown sickness, so that the word he names can be made the foundation of (the operation). The word is "spelled out" (istintaq) together with the name of the ascendant, the elements, the questioner, the day, and the hour, if one wants to go thoroughly into the question. If not, one restricts oneself to the word that the questioner says, and uses it, as we shall explain.
For instance, the questioner says "horse" (faras). The numerical value of the three letters (f-r-s) with their rational aliquot parts is set down. The numerical value off is eighty, 943 which has the aliquot parts m (forty), k (twenty), y (ten), h (eight), and d (four). The numerical value of r is two hundred, which has the aliquot parts q (one hundred), n (fifty), k-h (twenty-five), k (twenty), and y (ten). The numerical value of s is sixty, 944 which has the aliquot parts m (forty), l (thirty), k (twenty), y (ten), w (six), and j (three). W is a perfect number, having (the aliquot parts) four, three, and two, and so is s, having (the aliquot parts) forty, thirty, twenty, and ten. 945 If one simplifies 946 the letters of the words and then finds two elements equal, one assumes that the one that has more letters has superiority over the other. Then, one adds up the number of the letters of the elements in the name of the desired object, together with its letters, without simplification. One does the same with the name of the questioner. One assumes that the greater and stronger (number) has superiority.
Description of how to find out the powers of the elements.
FIRE EARTH AIR WATER
hhh yyyy kkkk h
mm n q l
The superiority here goes to the earth. Its nature, coldand-dryness, is the nature of the black bile. Thus, one assumes that the sick person suffers from the black bile. After one has composed an appropriate statement from the letters resulting from the breakdown into aliquot parts, it turns out that the throat is the place where the pain is located. The appropriate medicine is a clyster, and the appropriate liquid lemon juice. This results from the powers of the numbers of the letters of the word "horse." The (preceding discussion) is a brief, appropriate example.
In order to find out the powers of the elements from proper names, one proceeds in the following way. For instance, one takes "Muhammad" and writes it with unconnected letters (m-h-m-d). Then, one writes down the names of the four elements according to the composition of the (celestial) sphere. The result will be the letters and number of each element. For instance:
FIRE EARTH AIR WATER
Three kinds Three kinds Six kinds Six kinds
''' bbb jj dddd
hh www zz hhh
mm nn ss '''
One will find that the strongest of the elements of the name mentioned is the element of water, because the number of its letters is twenty. Therefore, one gives it superiority over the other elements of the name mentioned. One proceeds in the same way with all names. They are then added to their chords, or to the chord attributed to the ascendant in the za'irajah, or to the chord of the verse ascribed to Malik b. Wuhayb which he made the basis for the mixture of questions and which runs:
A weighty question you have got. Keep, then, to yourself
Remarkable doubts which have been raised and which can be straightened out with diligence.947
This is a famous chord for finding out unknown things. It served as the basis for Ibn ar-Raqqam 948 and his colleagues. It is a complete, self-sufficient operation (that works) in (all) arbitrary instances.
The operation with this mentioned chord is as follows 949 One writes it down with its letters unconnected and mixed with the word of the question according to the technique of "breaking down." 950 The number of the letters of this chord - that is, the verse - is forty-three, because every doubled letter counts as two. Then, the letters (of the questions), which are repeated in the mixing, are eliminated, and one letter which is similar to the letter of the question is eliminated from the basic (verse) for each remaining letter of the question. The two remainders are set down on one line, so mixed that the first letter is taken from the remainder of the "pole," and the second from the remainder of the question, (and so forth), until the two remainders are used up. This yields forty-three (letters). Five n's are then added, so that there are forty-eight letters, and the musical scales are balanced through them. Then, one writes down the remainder in order. If the number of the letters that come out after the mixing, agrees with the original number before elimination, the operation is correct. Then, a table of squares is filled with the (letters) that have been mixed. The end of the first line is the beginning of the second, and so on, until the first line reoccurs. The letters in the "region" follow each other in proportion to the motion. Then, the chord of each letter is brought out, as was mentioned before. It is put opposite its letters. Then, the elemental relations of the letters of the table are found out, in order to indicate their natural power, their spiritual scales, their psychic dispositions, and their principal bases from the table that has been composed for that purpose.
The way to find out the elementary relations is to note what the nature of the first letter of the table is, and what the nature of the field in which it resides is. If the two agree, it is good. If not, a relation between the two letters must be found out. This rule extends to all the letters of the table. Those who know the rules as they have been established in the musical circle can easily prove the correctness of this (procedure).
Then,951 one takes the chord of each letter after multiplying it by the bases of the four cardines of the (celestial) sphere, as was mentioned before. One should avoid what is adjacent to the cardines, and also the sawaqit, because their relationship is confused. The result here is the first degree of diffusion. Then, one takes the total of the elements and subtracts from it [?] the bases of the generated things. There remains the base of the world of creation after it has been exposed to the moments [?] of creation. Then, there are transferred to it some abstractions from matter - the elements that constitute matter. The result is the middle horizon of the soul. The first degree of diffusion is subtracted from the total of the elements. There remains the world of mediation. It has to do with the worlds of simple beings and not with (those of) composite ones.
The world of mediation is then multiplied by the middle horizon of the soul. The result is the most high horizon. To it, the first degree of diffusion is transferred. Then, the first of the elements basically constituting matter is subtracted from the fourth (degree of diffusion [?]). There remains the third degree of diffusion. The total of the particulars of the elements is always multiplied by the fourth degree of diffusion. The result is the first world of particularization. The result of the multiplication of the second (element) with the second (degree of diffusion) is the second world of particularization. The same is the case with the third and fourth. The worlds of particularization are added up and subtracted from the world of totality. There remain the worlds of abstraction. They are divided by the most high horizon. The result is the first particular.
From here, the operation is continued until its completion. There are preliminary remarks to it in the books of Ibn Wahshiyah, al-B:uni, and others. The procedure follows a natural and definite 951a norm that applies to this and other metaphysical disciplines. The construction of letter za'irajahs, as well as the divine art and philosophical magic center around it.
It 952 should be known that all these operations lead only to getting an answer that corresponds to the idea of the question. They do not give information on anything supernatural. They are a sort of witty (game), as we mentioned at the beginning of the book.953 Likewise, they do not belong to the science of letter magic (simiya'), as we have explained it.
God gives inspiration. He is asked for help. He is trusted. He suffices us. He is a good protector.